Visa-backed crypto custodian Anchorage launches governance voting platform for Maker holders; support for more coins coming

Quick Take

  • Cryptocurrency custody provider Anchorage has launched a governance voting platform 
  • The first supported cryptocurrency is MakerDAO’s Maker (MKR), with more to be added
  • Diogo Monica, co-founder and president of Anchorage, told The Block that the firm is “focused on supporting several major new projects that are yet to launch.”

Institutional cryptocurrency custody provider Anchorage has launched an on-chain governance voting platform for MakerDAO’s Maker (MKR) token holders, in an attempt to increase voter turnout.

Announcing the news on Thursday, Anchorage said the voting platform, dubbed Anchorage Governance, will help its clients who hold MKR to participate in the upcoming Multi-Collateral Dai (MCD) vote on Nov. 15, as well as all subsequent executive votes.

The platform took “several months” to build and is for executive votes only and not polling, Diogo Monica, co-founder and president of Anchorage, told The Block.

With the platform, Anchorage’s clients, which include some big-name investment firms such as a16z, Polychain and Paradigm, can now participate in voting for governance decisions like adjustments to the Stability Fee, Daily Savings Rate, and portfolio collateral types. 

“It's important to the success of MakerDAO that Anchorage clients who hold MKR can vote easily and securely, and we look forward to increased asset holder participation as a result,” said Rune Christensen, founder of MakerDAO.

“It is our duty to participate in governance decisions that affect the DeFi [decentralized finance] ecosystem and digital credit markets,” added Kevin Yedid-Botton, principal at ParaFi Capital, which is Anchorage’s client and a Maker holder.

'Significant' MKR holdings

Anchorage said that its clients have “significant” Maker holdings, and therefore, it expects the governance voting platform to have a “meaningful” impact on future voter turnout.

However, The Block research analyst Matteo Leibowitz, recently noted that there is “no guaranteed correlation between high voter turnout and objectively correct decision making.”

To that, Monica told The Block: “We are agnostic on which way our clients vote on any given issue;" however, institutional investors are “strongly incentivized to make the best decisions for the health of the networks they invest in because they have so much at stake.”

Any different?

Anchorage is not the only platform to provide a governance voting platform for MKR holders. Coinbase Custody already does that. When asked how Anchorage’s platform differs from Coinbase Custody’s, Monica told The Block that "Coinbase’s model involves moving assets from a cold storage key into a proxy smart contract, which is controlled by a hot wallet...and is more exposed to risk,” while “our model does not use hot wallets or cold storage, and therefore we do not need to use a proxy smart contract.”

Anchorage further said that it uses a multi-user approval system for its voting platform to ensure that a given vote reflects an organization’s wishes and not just the whims of an individual employee.

More assets

With on-chain governance becoming “increasingly common" with protocols like Tezos, EOS, Dash and others, Anchorage said it will support “many more” crypto assets in the future. When asked for specific details, Monica told The Block: “Right now we’re highly focused on supporting several major new projects that are yet to launch, so that our clients will be supported on day one.”

Anchorage is backed by notable investors, including Visa, a16z and Blockchain Capital, all three participating in its $40 million Series A in July. The total funding raised by Anchorage to date is $57 million, Monica told The Block.

There are now 50 employees working for Anchorage; that number was around 25 last year, and Monica said the firm is currently hiring for over 15 more roles.

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